The question has gone viral since one of his students posted it to Twitter.
WHAT KIND OF PROFESSOR DOES THIS pic.twitter.com/ACtQ0FCwRm
— shahanye (@shaunhin) July 1, 2015
What kind of professor, indeed? University of Maryland psychology teacher Dylan Selterman has been adding it to his test since 2008. The question reads:
Select whether you want 2 points or 6 points added onto your final paper grade. If more than 10% of the class selects 6 points, then no one gets any points. Your responses will be anonymous to the rest of the class, only I will see the responses.
The question illustrates a theory called "The Tragedy of the Commons," which means a situation where individuals act according to their self-interest, and against the interests of the whole group, eventually depleting some common resource. Like quiz points, for example. Since he started adding it to his tests, only one class has managed to get the extra credit, 2 points apiece.
After blowing up on Twitter, Selterman came forward as "that professor," like he's Tony Stark at an Iron Man tradeshow:
I am that professor. https://t.co/5OIDw7ZXxX
— Dylan Selterman (@SelterMosby) July 9, 2015
There's been plenty of debate sparked on the interwebs and everyone has an opinion. They're either celebrating how they'd grab at those six points like it was candy held loosely in an infant's hand or they're suggesting creative ways to punish the six-point-choosers.
@SelterMosby here's a twist for you -- next year give the kids who said 2 points the 6 and the ones who said 6 nothing!
— Digital Megaphone (@digimegaphone) July 12, 2015
Whichever side you land on (and you know who you are), it's a great way to start a conversation about sharing with adults who didn't learn how to in kindergarten.